Solomon Islands supports West Papuan self-determination at the United Nations General Assembly
September 22, 2017
Today at the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, H.E. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare made a heartfelt speech, reaffirming the unbreakable and longstanding support of his people and nation for the people of West Papua.
He opened his remarks concerning West Papua, linking in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with the plight of the West Papuan people, stating,
‘Solomon Islands position on the aforementioned issues are premised on principles that we
have consistently upheld. In this connection, Solomon Islands condemns the consistent
human rights violations in West Papua. Our Sustainable Development Goals that promote the notion of “no-one left behind” is synonymous to empty promises unless we, in the United Nations, take active steps to address the plight of the peoples of West Papua.’
Prime Minister Sogavare then once again reiterated Solomon Islands’ vital support for West Papua’s fundamental right to self-determination and called upon all countries and international organisations to support West Papuan self-determination. He said,
‘Indeed, we have left them behind some 50 years ago when we, as a Family of Nations, noted
their plight without much to add. Since then, the peoples of West Papua were never allowed
the proper act of self-determination guaranteed by the inalienable right to self
determination as expressed in UN human rights Covenants. Only international action — by
individual countries and from the leading organizational bodies of the international system,
especially the United Nations General Assembly – can pave the way for the recognition of a
people whose right to self-determination had been denied for nearly fifty years ago. Failing
this, we as a Family of Nations will become complicit in perpetuating the suffering and being
blind to the injustice; missing yet another golden opportunity to remain true to the saying of
“leaving no-one behind.’
The Prime Minister also poignantly described how the people of West Papua are putting their hopes on the United Nations, and UN member countries saying,
‘At the 71st session, a group of Pacific Island nations called for this august body to address
the human rights violations in West Papua. Today, I stand on behalf of my people and those
in the Pacific region to reiterate that same call on this august body to address the plight of
West Papuan women, children and men.
‘Our people are watching, West Papuans inside West Papua are watching, praying and are
hoping for a brighter future. They have come in numbers to express their hope for a better
future. We as leaders have this responsibility of “leaving NO-ONE BEHIND”.’
He then invited the Indonesian government and the United Nations to address West Papua, stating,
‘I would therefore encourage Indonesia to engage in more constructive dialogue, including
with West Papua to find a way forward in addressing the aspirations of the people of West
Papua. I urge the UN to proactively engage in these dialogues as well.’
The ongoing, phenomenal support of the Prime Minster, his people and his nations means so much to the people of West Papua and we express our sincerest and most heartfelt thanks for this incredible spirit of true Melanesian-Pacific solidarity.
Support for West Papua’s fundamental right to self-determination is absolutely crucial for the future of the West Papuan people and it takes true comradeship and human compassion to stand up for West Papuan self-determination as Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have all done at the UN General Assembly.
The people of West Papua continue to pray for H.E. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare and all Pacific leaders and other international figures, for their true resilience and honour in supporting West Papua at the highest level.
Again, we also send our deepest solidarity and undying support to Solomon Islands and all Pacific nations in the struggle against climate change and we urge everyone to take all possible actions to help support our fellow Pacific islanders and stop the effects of climate change.